Owner of BB’S Coffee and Muffins cafe in Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham is fined £15k over hygiene failures

A cafe – part of a major national chain – was shut down and its owner fined after a “widespread” infestation of mice

Now the cafe owner, which trades under the BB’s Coffee and Muffins name, has been fined £15,000 after food was contaminated by a mouse infestation.

Mohammed Qayyum, who trades in the Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham, appeared before Medway magistrates as a director of Ahmed & Brothers Ltd who own the premises.

He admitted three charges related to a lack of cleaning and repair, staff carrying out inadequate procedures to control the infestation and food being contaminated by mouse droppings.

He was also ordered to pay £2,430.74, in costs after initially denying the charges.

Magistrates heard the matter came to light in June 2013 when a customer complained to Medway Council.

Court papers revealed council officers found an active and widespread infestation of mice and ready-to-eat food contaminated by droppings and gnawing.

Officers were granted an emergency order to close down the cafe, which is in the middle of the main shopping arcade, on June 7, 2013.

They revisited the cafe shortly afterwards and reopened it with a clean bill of health.

A spokesman for the council later said the coffee shop had taken prompt and effective action to deal with the health concerns.

However, it decided to press ahead with prosecuting Qayyum, 42, of Goodmayes Lane, Ilford, Essex, who magistrates heard failed to comply with the general food hygiene requirements laid down in the regulations.

The court heard all parts of the food premises were not kept clean and well maintained and that the premises were also in a state of poor repair making it easy for mice to enter the cafe.

When we spoke to Qayyum at the time the incident came to light, he said: “Everything’s been satisfied, all the issues have been resolved and at the end of the day it was no big issue.

“Everything’s fine now. We’ve reopened for business.”

Also in June 2013, Medway Magistrates’ Court had to hire exterminators to deal with a mouse infestation.

The court and Pentagon are on either side of The Brook, which is now paved over but was once a Victorian stream.

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